Young Entrepreneurs Academy VA Peninsula (YEA!)
What is YEA!
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a year-long program that teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own REAL businesses. YEA! was developed at the University of Rochester in 2004 with the support of a grant from the Kauffman Foundation. The Virginia Peninsula Chamber Foundation is excited to introduce YEA! to the Peninsula business community!
YEA! guides students through the process of starting and running a legitimate business or social movement over the course of a full academic year. As of 2013, YEA! has graduated 1,394 students who have started over 1,000 businesses and social movements! YEA! graduates started as students, and left the program as CEOs of their own companies!
Check out the Businesses from our YEA! Class of 2016 graduates!
Click logos and learn how they worked with the students!
If you would like to join their ranks, then apply for YEA! Class of 2017!
Overview of the Program
What can students expect to do over the course of the program:
- Brainstorm business ideas
- Write a business plan
- Interact with business professionals
- Pitch their business plan to potential “investors” (think of ABC’s “Shark Tank”!)
- Obtain funding
- Legally register their businesses
- Participate in a Trade Show
- Actually launch their own businesses or social movements
This program offers students the chance to:
- Develop the skills necessary to launch their own business or social movement (hands-on entrepreneurial experience!)
- Learn about real businesses - why they succeed or fail.
- Hear from local entrepreneurs.
- Launch their own business or social movement!
- Become more confident in their ideas and their abilities
- College scholarship opportunities
Saunders Scholars Competition
Entrepreneur and Philanthropist E. Philip Saunders has provided the Young Entrepreneurs Academy a ten-year, transformational gift to provide young entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators an opportunity to earn significant college scholarship awards. Mr. Saunders and the academy believe in aligning passions, interest and skills with higher education. The YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition brings together the top student businesses from each YEA! class around the country to compete to win scholarship dollars, and business start-up prize packages.
Organization of Program
YEA! classes will meet October through May, for three hours weekly. Applications will be accepted from students in grades 6-12.
There are no classes during regular school holidays and recesses. Students are taught by an instructor, but are exposed to guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs and business mentors. The class goes on field trips to a variety of local businesses. Finally, the students participate in three major events throughout the year: the Investor Panel, Trade Show and a formal graduation ceremony.
Student Selection Process
To apply for YEA!, students must:
- Fill out the YEA! application
- Complete the essay and the short answer questions
- Submit their transcripts
- Submit a letter of recommendation
Once the completed application packet is received, students will be asked to come in for an interview. Acceptance in the program is based on all aspects of an application, as well as the personal interview. Prior experience with business is not required!
Become a Sponsor Today!
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or how to invest in student businesses, click here!
If you have specific questions about how to volunteer or get your business involved contact Jemal Harris: 325-8157 or Jharris@vpcc.org.